Patnaik wins trust vote, Orissa opposition cries foul (Intro Roundup)

March 11th, 2009 - 9:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, March 11 (IANS) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Wednesday won a trust vote in the state assembly amid bedlam and walkout by a fuming opposition that alleged manipulation, prompting Governor M.C. Bhandare to examine the video recording of the special session.
The trust vote session was held three days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew its support to the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-led coalition government.

The BJP frantically pressed the governor to dismiss the government even as a triumphant Patnaik emerged victorious in a voice vote in the 147-member house.

“No one asked for a division and the motion was passed by a voice vote,” Patnaik told reporters.

Protesting the win, BJP and Congress leaders met Bhandare separately and demanded dismissal of the government. They alleged manipulation in the trust vote. The BJD denied the charge.

The governor asked Speaker Maheswar Mohanty to submit the video recording of the proceedings and other records related to the voting.

“The assembly authority has already submitted to the governor the video recording of the proceedings and other details related to the voting,” a senior official in governor’s secretariat told IANS.

Patnaik called off the 11-year alliance between the BJP and the BJD last week after deciding that the BJP needed to be cut to size ahead of the April-May Lok Sabha election.

He lost no time in forging ties with the Left, stunning the BJP, which had been banking on a good showing in Orissa, a state that elects 21 MPs.

The BJP accused the chief minister and the speaker of “killing” democracy by resorting to voice vote.

“Naveen Patnaik has betrayed the people of Orissa by adopting unfair means to remain as chief minister,” BJP national vice-president Jual Oram told IANS. “Today was a black day for Indian democracy.”

He added that the BJP had submitted a memorandum to the governor demanding the dismissal of the government. He insisted that the government did not enjoy majority support in the assembly.

Congress leader Narasimha Mishra added: “The speaker and the chief minister both are killers of democracy. They did not allow a discussion. It was unconstitutional.”

Countered the BJD’s Bikram Keshari Arukh, the chief whip: “The opposition staged a walkout. They should have stayed on in the house and asked for a division.”

The trust vote arose after the BJP withdrew support to Patnaik, reducing his government to a minority.

Barring the Congress, smaller parties and some Independents immediately announced their support to Patnaik, who had aligned with the BJP more than a decade ago.

The BJP and the BJD fought three Lok Sabha and two assembly elections together.

There was pandemonium in the assembly Tuesday. Congress and BJP members maintained the timing of the motion was not correct because the model code of conduct had come into force ahead of the Lok Sabha election.

Despite vociferous opposition, Speaker Mohanty put the motion to a voice vote and declared it had won majority support in the legislature.

The BJD, which has 61 members in the assembly, needed the support of 13 members to win the confidence vote. The BJP has a 32-member bloc but three of them decided to back the government.

The BJD earlier said it had been assured support by four Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislators, one each of the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India-Marxist, six Independents and three BJP rebels.

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